How Do I File an Extension for Taxes?


You can file an extension for your taxes by filing Form 4868 with the IRS online or by mail. This must be done by the tax filing due date. Filing an extension for your taxes gives you an additional six months to prepare your return no matter the reason you need the extra time.

Filing an Extension for Taxes – What You Need to KnowFiling a tax extension documents.

When some taxpayers ask, “How do I get an extension for my taxes?” they might be thinking of the taxes owed and not the return itself.

This question calls attention to a key distinction — An extension only gives you more time to finish the paperwork, not more time to pay. Your tax payment is still due on April 15 or on the next business day if it falls on a weekend or holiday. Note: For 2019 returns, the IRS has extended the tax deadline due to the coronavirus pandemic to July 15.

If you know you’ll be getting a refund, you won’t need to worry about paying when you are filing an extension for taxes. The earlier you file your return, the earlier you’ll receive your refund.

If think or know you’ll owe, you should estimate your tax liability and pay the amount due when you file Form 4868. Keep in mind, filing an extension is not a bad thing. Not paying on time or enough, however, may cost you.

  • If you don’t pay the full amount you owe, the IRS will charge you interest on the unpaid balance until you pay the full amount.
  • If you don’t pay at least 90% of the amount you owe, you might also be subject to a late payment penalty. The penalty is usually half of 1% of the amount owed for each month, up to a maximum of 25%.
  • If you don’t file either your return or Form 4868 by July 15 you’ll be subject to a late filing penalty. (Unless you’re filing 2019 taxes in 2020, then the date is different. It’s July 15, 2020.) The penalty is usually 5% of the amount you owe for each month, up to a maximum of 25%.

After you file the extension, you’ll have until October 15 to file your return. When you complete your return, you should include the amount you’ve already paid in the payments section of your Form 1040.

How Do I Get an Extension on My Taxes If I’m Abroad?

You have two extra months to file your return and pay the amount due without filing an extension for your taxes if both of these apply:

  • You’re a U.S. citizen or resident alien.
  • You’re out of the country on the filing due date.

“Out of the country” means either of these:

  • You live outside the United States and Puerto Rico. Also, your main place of work is outside the United States and Puerto Rico.
  • You’re in the military and serve outside the United States and Puerto Rico. Military personnel in a combat zone usually get even more time.

If you qualify, you don’t have to file an IRS extension form to request the two extra months time. You should include a statement with your return explaining why you qualify for the later deadline.

What Is Tax Form 4868? How Do I File It?

Form 4868 is the document you complete to receive an automatic extension to file your U.S. individual income tax return. Most taxpayers choose to do this online vs. sending a paper form.

If you use an H&R Block Online filing product, we’ll ask you questions that will complete tax Form 4868 for you.

Get Help Filing Your Extension

Want help filing your tax extension? Our knowledgeable tax pros can help you file your extension and when you’re ready to complete your return, we can help you maximize your refund.

Make an appointment in one of our tax offices to file your extension today.

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